What is the best version of Lord of the Rings to buy?

KyleK

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The title basically says it all...I was thinking about getting the one illustrated by Alan Lee, but that is all one volume, and I kind of want on that has the three books separate. If the paintings are really good I'll get it though. All I have right now are the paperbacks(rather dog-eared from my brother's use).
Thanks,
Kyle
P.S. It kind of needs to be below $80.00.
 

cafink

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I'm not trying to be a smart ass or a "thread farter" here, but I have a serious question. Why on earth would you want to pay such extreme amounts of money for a book? I mean, you are seriously willing to pay eighty dollars for three books that you already own?
To use an analogy that fits right in at a home theater forum, this isn't like spending upwards of fourty or fifty dollars for a "deluxe collector's edition" of your favorite movie on DVD. With that, you (presumably) get things like the best audio and video quality available with current technology. But all the technology in the world isn't going to change the Lord of the Rings. The text inside is exactly the same today as it was when Tolkien wrote it nearly fifty years ago (okay, I know there have been some revisions to it, but that's not really the issue here, so let's not complicate things). Everything that Lord of the Rings is — that is, all the text of the story — is contained even in ratty, old, dog-eared paperback editions.
I have a copy of the Lord of the Rings. I got all three books from a garage sale for seventy-five cents. Sounds like yours are in about the same shape mine are. They have served me just fine for years. What makes you want to pay so much more for another copy?
 

Jeff Kleist

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I have the Alan Lee version. I prefer the art in an edition of the Hobbit I have, Michael somebody. It's very nice, bound in bookmark, at least 30-40 paintings
 

KyleK

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Carl,
Maybe $80 was a little extreme. I should have put about $50 dollars.
I just wanted a book that would hold up over multiple readings, and maybe have some "special features" like illustations. I was going to give the paperbacks to my brother.
I'm sure many people already have their favorite movies on VHS, yet they buy them again on DVD for some of the same reasons I want a hardcover LotR, even when I already own it.
Kyle
 

Glenn Overholt

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I think that someone will correct me if I am wrong, but the paper used for paperbacks is not acid-free. This causes the pages to literally fall apart after xx number of years.
Buying a classic book is what others consider an SE.
When I brought my hard bound editions (mid '70's) I did notice that although all of the words were in both of them, they had moved paragraphs around. The plot(s) would jump from one to another more often. If you had three plots (A, B & C) instead of having one chapter going A, B then C, you'd have A, B, A, C, B, A, etc. Much more suspenseful.
Glenn
 

KyleK

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Glenn,
Interesting. Perhaps it was a printing mistake, or a revised edition. Are you sure they moved paragraphs around? Maybe they weren't authorized by Tolkien.
[Edited last by KyleK on November 07, 2001 at 11:56 PM]
 

John Miles

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Why on earth would you want to pay such extreme amounts of money for a book? I mean, you are seriously willing to pay eighty dollars for three books that you already own?
The Easton Press LOTR editions were north of $200 when I bought mine, and they're worth every penny. A genuine work of art. Reading them is like driving a new Mercedes.... they even smell classy.
A really fine set of books is a pleasure to own and read, even though I suspect most owners of this edition will never take them out of the shrinkwrap. More's the pity!
 

andrew markworthy

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Carl, I agree that on the surface it's ridiculous to pay that much for a book you already own. Perhaps the only good defence I can think of is that a well-bound and printed hardback book can last hundreds of years, and withstand heavy use, whilst a paperback will almost inevitably disintegrate within a decade, unless it is rarely used (and what's the point of a book if it isn't read?). FWIW, I've had a few textbooks published, including a couple of technical terms dictionaries. Normally my stuff comes straight out into paperback, but the publishers did hardback versions of the dictionaries, because otherwise libraries wouldn't buy them: wear and tear would disintegrate the covers of a paperback too quickly. [That was the theory, anyway; sales haven't exactly indicated heavy usage].
Incidentally, this is a side issue, but did you know that a hardback book costs very little more than a paperback to produce? The reason why paperbacks are so much cheaper is the volume (if you'll pardon the pun) in which they are produced, which brings the unit cost down.
 

Glenn Overholt

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Kyle - just another edition, I'm sure, but it did make me scratch my head when I first noticed it. It is all over the trilogy. The one that I can remember was with the spider and the cave (no spoilers!).
Glenn
 

Denward

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quote: Everything that Lord of the Rings is — that is, all the text of the story — is contained even in ratty, old, dog-eared paperback editions.[/quote]Carl, You're posting this in a forum where people get bent out of shape when they have to cut a proof of purchase out of a DVD package to get a rebate. I don't consider myself a collector but I certainly understand if someone else wants perfectly packaged DVDs or beautifully bound books. I think that's part of any collecting obsession.
[Edited last by Denward on November 08, 2001 at 10:40 AM]
 

Trace Downing

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I got a new set of hardbounds for Christmas last year. Very nice. Barnesandnoble.com had them.
Tan spines, watercolor prints on the covers (when put together you can see a complete ringwraith) in subdued colors. Comes with a box. Real nice red and black maps.
I think the set was between $40 and $60...can't remember. It's the second edition (with a preface that says Tolkein himself approved of these versions).
EDIT: here they are...
http://shop.barnesandnoble.com/books...sbn=0395489326
[Edited last by Trace Downing on November 08, 2001 at 01:43 PM]
 

RicP

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I guess some people here just aren't book collectors. I appreciate a well-crafted book more than any DVD. I am a book lover and collector myself. Even $80 for a well-bound, tightly wrapped, acid-free, illustrated edition is a bargain. Books that are well built will last a lifetime and longer.
Yes it's true that the story is the same, but there is something more fulfilling -- to me at least -- about falling into a story that's presented in a beautifully bound book.
I've paid $400 for a single book, does that make me crazy? What if I told you that it's worth well over $1200 now? Not that I'd sell it, but good books always appreciate in value.
------------------

Ric Perrott - My DVD's
 

DonRoeber

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Feb 11, 2001
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I recently looked through all of the available copies of LOTR at my bookstore. After about an hour of deliberation, I decided on the red hardback copy of all three books. All three books are combined into one volume, with a fold out map in the back. Its very well made, and the cover is leather (I think). Also includes a red sleeve to store it in. The pages are a very high quality, and I'm really enjoying reading it. I spent the extra money for this version so that it would last forever and make a good addition to my library. A version of The Hobbit is also available, bound in a simmilar fashion (its green though).
Unfortunately, the book is rather large, so taking it with me on the train every day isn't really an option. Debating buying a cheap paperback version for 'portable use'.
------------------
--
Donald Roeber
Generating 2048 bits of randomness...
 

Carlo Medina

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I love The Red Book version of LoTR. It's the one that comes in a red slip case, published by Houghton Mifflin. It retails for $75 but you can probably find it online for about $55. That being said, if you want three separate volumes you can get the tan ones that were described above with the watercolor covers on each book, also in a slipcase. Or you can get the hardcover movie-tie-in books which are basically those same books with movie art bookcovers (I took them off, they are the same versions).
As for the 70's HC mentioned above, there have been many iterations of LoTR, most not approved by the author. You can basically rest assured that anything printed now by Houghton Mifflin will be the last version that Tolkien approved. I do not approve of the Millennium edition (7 black books) as the binding is weak and will wear over time. I work in a library, I know.
And yes, I would pay handsomely for a book, as I would for a DVD. It's just your passion, man. A friend of mine last night mentioned how she paid $200 for a pair of boots at the mall! But I didn't judge her, her boots are my books...
 

Carlo Medina

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It should say "acid free" on the verso page (usually the one that has the Library of Congress information on it, as well as what edition it is & copyright info).
BTW, I just saw that hardcover Houghton Mifflin I was talking about in a slipcase with covers from the movies at Costco for $40. Can't go wrong there, since they are the same books as the ones with the tan-colored binding w/ watercolor covers...with different covers.
 

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